Holy Paintbrushes, Batman!

I’m kinda bursting with glee. Like, I’m wiggling around in my seat right now, can’t sit still, can’t quite keep the happy from sizzling and jiving from the ends of my bedhead hair right down to my toes and out into my ratty slippers…it’s really, really good that you can’t see me right now.

Remember last week I told you about delivering that pretty, switched-up trompe l’oeil chair?

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<—–You know, this one?

 

 

 

And here it is in its new home! Leah Chair 2 Leah Chair 3

Love this…don’t often get to see my pieces in their new context, so this is especially gratifying! And could you just die over the adorable lavender room??

 

Anyway, about two seconds after I passed the chair into the client’s waiting hands, she started asking about a handpainted kitchen table, and stools to go around it. I think I managed to contain the jolt of excitement and answer with calm, professional competence, but it’s good I was wearing sunglasses, ’cause my eyes may have looked a little crazy.

So we’ve been emailing back and forth. A LOT. Nailed down a design which is just going to be all kinds of awesome.

Pedastal and table top

 

<——one of these

 

 

 

Round scoop seat stool

 

 

<——with 4 of these

 

 

 

Soooooo….yesterday marked a new adventure for me in my paintiness, and a bunch of firsts all in one: first big sale, first repeat customer, first kitchen set, most ambitious, all-encompassing design. Don’t wanna give too much away about that yet, but think travel theme, iconic landmarks both local and international….yeah. So, so cool.

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My husband is happy about this for a wholly different reason: he finally has my buy-in and commitment to helping clean out the garage–which I would normally attempt to avoid by any means up to and including faking a seizure–just so I have the proper space to work on this piece. So I see an official, organized, dedicated workspace in my future that is NOT in my dining room. More happy sizzly wiggles. Bring it on, 2013, I like your style!

 

Even BUSIER!

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This month has been a time of learning, of reflection, of meditation….NOT!! This month has been running-full-tilt-into-gale-force-winds busy. I’m operating at Defcon 5. I think. Not really sure I have a firm grasp of the defcons.

Anyway, said insane busy-ness actually has caused a little reflection, nonetheless; sort of a by-product, an accidental side effect, like radiation sickness only without the hair loss. Like…I have discovered that I have far less free time than I thought, time when I can focus on something other than my children and their various needs, wants, activities, and nuclear meltdowns, time when I can be utterly absorbed in my painting. Far, FAAAAAAR less. This is good to know.

This led to another discovery, which is that I can have several projects going and children clean, fed, and where they need to be, OR a clean house. (If any of you show up at my door, I’m telling you right now I won’t be home. Even if I am. Or I’ve been eaten by monster dust bunnies. In which case I’m still not home.) I should add blogging as another “OR.” Also, excellent information to have, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that I need a housekeeper. Clearly. (note to self: figure out how to pitch this to spouse)

Happily, this forced reevaluation of my time management has led me to develop, quite unintentionally, an skill that had eluded me till now: the ability to drop my paintbrush, go break up a fight/put on a band aid/make dinner, come back and pick up the brush, and slip right back into that same head space. It’s like guerrilla creativity tactics. Love. It. This would be the up side of radiation sickness…?

But today, I’m taking a break. I’m blogging (you may have noticed). I’m NOT putting on my painting jeans–cute skinny jeans instead. I just had the rare treat of delivering one of my pieces in person (client #2, below)–which means I got to witness the First Look, wallowed in it, can now remember it & replay it for days & days & derive unending joy from it. Totally worth coming out of my hole for! I get to do that again over the weekend (client #1)…major, major up sides.

So…in this momentary lull, I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to.

IMG_0365IMG_0458 IMG_0460 Client #1

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Client #2IMG_0469

Variation on the “Lulu”, with fewer ribbons, but added flowers and butterflies. Butterflies are super fun to paint! May have to incorporate more of these in the future.

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Client #3, work in progress! Customized to client’s color scheme, and with all sorts of locale-specific items making an appearance–stuff that will have meaning for her grandkids!

 

 

 

There’s a client #4 and #5 waiting in the wings, and another possible (even bigger) project with one of the above clients…very exciting stuff! I think today may be the only break I get in a while. And I’m rather okay with that.

Don’t forget to check me out on Etsy, and on Facebook!

Taking a breath…

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Golly gee, what a whirlwind!

I think I have an hour and a half to breathe here before I have to get back on the mommy train, so I’m carving out a little artistic catch up time.

So…hi! How ya been? Don’t know about you, but I’ve been pretty freakin busy.

In case you haven’t been keeping track, the RAW showcase was this last weekend–the culmination of my mad creative sprint of a painting frenzy. Frenzy over. Which makes me feel a little itchy, like I’m supposed to be painting in every spare second…hard to decompress!

Anyway, the local news article was released the day before the event–a day I spent driving around to every shopping center in the city (mostly) looking for copies, because I didn’t realize the Irvine World News no longer just magically shows up in my driveway. Huh. Never did find the mystical repository of newsprint, so I had to beg and borrow copies from friends–although there is the online version, which is pretty spiffy . Still, I wanted to hold it in my grubby little hands and gloat over it a little. There is something thrilling and visceral about opening up a newspaper and coming face to face with yourself. At least to me! I’ve really got to send that reporter a thank you box of chocolates or something, she made me sound kinda cool.

Thanks to those begged and borrowed copies, however, I did manage to frame a copy, to display at the showcase. So all’s well there.

The whole showcase thing…wow, what an experience. Loud, messy, crazy, fun, frantic…it had it all. Just a side note–nightclubs are kinda gross. And there’s a reason the lights are dim. Dimness does not mix well with displaying art, which meant lights were brought in and…well, ew. There was much handwashing going on. And I think some spraying of Febreze.

But still, cool venue, wide open space, pretty good traffic flow. I just wish I had paid better attention to the artwork already on the walls when I selected my space, and vetted it for suitability with children’s furniture. There was some very careful selective angling with the camera going on, to block out the two naked ladies on the wall, one of whom is apparently assisting the other with lactation, I surmise. This was located right behind the cute little Western rocking chair that I borrowed back from my very nice cousin for the evening. I promise I’ll disinfect it before I return it. Yeah, awesome.

You can just see their heads peeking over the top, because I scrunched down just enough. You’re welcome.

This one was taken before the weird Austin-Powers-round-red-couch-of-love in the bottom left corner was dismantled and taken away to another corner of the room. Where later on I spotted at least four twenty-somethings sprawled out on it, tweeting or texting or something. I wouldn’t have touched that thing if you paid me, let alone permitted full-body contact.

Photo Here’s me at the event! With specially-purchased-for-the-evening bright red lipstick! And with one of the guest stars of the evening, the Tommy chair. Thanks to Tommy for letting me borrow it!

But anyway…I’d like to publicly thank my friends and family for coming, saying nice things about my pieces, and making me look like the hip, happening artist of the evening by virtue of the crowd around me. Nothing like generating a little buzz! I’m kinda glad they all left before the make-up/jewelry fashion show, which also featured whips, handcuffs, nun-chucks, and garter belts…because I just don’t think I could have handled those two worlds colliding like that.

I wouldn’t say I got tons of traffic–I was so very, very different from the other artists there, and I think casual glancers-my-way could not immediately figure out what they were seeing, based on the puzzled expressions. But by and large, the people who actually stopped and talked to me seemed genuinely interested. I had some conversations about potential future projects, some attentive price-writing-down…good stuff all around. And I got to schmooze and trade business cards with other aspiring artists and photographers, which is always fun, and who knows! And technically I made a sale that night–even though it’s to a close family friend, it still counts, right? Of course right.

And I swear, I am really starting to believe in this whole good-vibes-karma thing, because right in the middle of the event I happened to check my phone, and had a message from someone wishing to buy one of my Lulu, Tuffets n Bows, girly chairs (I haven’t totally settled on a name, can you tell?), which she did the next morning. And it had nothing, nothing to do with either the article or the showcase. What are the odds?? Seriously, spooky stuff.

So I actually DO have some projects to keep me busy, so all that frantic energy I had generated which would otherwise have no place to go and would drive me insane until it dissipated, won’t. Drive me crazy, I mean.

Oh, and in all that crazy, I totally neglected to properly introduce my newest piece, my current favorite (and the possible inspiration for a total redesign of my son’s room, if he has anything to say about it…mixed feelings about that, myself), my new Shipwreck Stepstool. Variation on a theme, here, but I really like the direction it took, and I feel like it’s an improvement on my under-the-sea designs (and if there’s now a Disney song running through your head, I’m sorry or your welcome, depending).  Needs a catchier name, though…any suggestions?

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New Dino-riffic design–Handpainted child’s footstool

Dinosaur Footprint Stool #4

Nearly as soon as I joined Twitter (about which I’m still a terrible neophyte, I ask a lot of really dumb questions because I just don’t get it), my site was discovered by a nice fellow tweeter looking for a footstool for his son’s upcoming birthday. As I did not have any dinosaur themes in my repertoire at the time, I agreed to come up with something. And then I took a few days to carefully consider my approach.

I’ve learned that my painting style does not adapt well to all-over designs with cavorting creatures and graphic designs–I like other peoples’ designs along those lines, but they do not make me happy in my own work. I want things to look REAL. I want to create a little piece of (admittedly whimsical and/or improbable) reality, be it a beach or a shipwreck or a prehistoric forest–that just happens to come in the shape of a chair or a footstool. I like a good paradox!

So this dinosaur theme required some thought, because the scale issue of trying to paint an actual dinosaur on something as small as a stool just didn’t fly–what looks real about that? So I decided to go for a less literal interpretation, and just do the footprint of a dinosaur. It still required quite a bit of research–but luckily my research assistant (aka 7 year old Colin) has a ready supply of dinosaur books from which to draw. He must’ve given me a stack of five or six–I had no idea he had so many dino books, did I buy all of those?? How foresightful of me!

I learned all sorts of things about which of the dinosaurs were theropods (which means “beast foot” but is actually a total misnomer), how they walked, even which toes bore their weight. I am now a deep well of information on the subject. I will henceforth be a hit at parties.

So here is my rendition of a theropod footprint, species unknown–could even be a young T. rex, who knows!

Want one for yourself? Got a dino-phile in the family who needs a boost? Check out my Etsy shop for pricing and ordering details! etsy.com/shop/LaraEveDesigns

Personalization included! Customization available, additional fees may apply.

Here comes Lulu! Featured pick, handpainted accent chair

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At last we get to take a closer look at Lulu, aka Tuffets ‘n Bows, aka…the girly chair. This one is just so much fun to paint! I love the color palette, all vivid pastels, and the riot of ribbons going every which way, and most especially the velvety lavender pillow. I wish I had a real pillow like that. I would carry it around with me and put it on every chair I ever sat on, and instantly feel princessy and pampered.

Hopefully those feelings will translate to the past and future owners of this model, because that’s what I was going for. I know of one young lady who drags hers to her desk for homework, and then to the dining table for dinner time–that is some serious commitment to princess-hood which I applaud.

In this model’s second incarnation, the client asked me if there was any way I could work in dinosaurs, as her granddaughter had a current passion for them. This was a puzzler for a while–should I throw in a stegosaurus and drape some ribbons around its neck? Should there be an inexplicably benevolent T-rex reclining on the cushion? It took a while, but I finally came up with a solution that I felt wouldn’t be too jarring: I designed a crest with a Triceratops Rampant, and painted it in gold on the aqua field just under the front of the seat. I have to say I found the little guy rather fetching–and hello, the fact that triceratops have a frill made it sort of a perfect fit with this frilly chair–and the client was pretty pleased with it.

It wasn’t until its third incarnation that this model won its name…it couldn’t be helped, the little girl I made it for is everything this chair is going for, and her name is just…well, perfect. So, here you go, meet Lulu. She’s a sweetheart.

Featured Pick of the Day–Handpainted Rocking Chair

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This one is kind of special. Okay, really special.

I made this recently for my cousin, who’s about to have a baby boy. The theme was a no-brainer (the nursery is a really adorable cowboy motif), but it became very meaningful to me. Our grandmother was a Missourian farm girl, who owned horses when we were all kids, and we’d all go out to her house in Elsinore and ride, and swim in the pool, and get really dirty out in the hills.

Grandma died a few years ago, and it was my cousin’s idea to have her saddle sitting on a sawhorse up in front at her funeral.  This just about undid me when I walked in to the church, but it was so her, and so perfect. (side note: he and his bride also had Grandma’s cowboy boots sitting on the sweetheart table at their wedding. We’re a little sentimental in our family. I like that about us.)

So, fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I’m brainstorming about what to paint for this new baby we’re so excited about, and speculating on whether it should be a rocking horse, a step stool, a rocking chair, or what…suddenly, as I was looking at a picture of the rocking chair I was considering, it occurred to me that, if you kind of squinted and looked at it the right way, the curvy back looked a little like a saddle. Grandma’s saddle.

So even though the colors, the lasso, the deputy badge are inspired by the nursery decor, and it’s little Travis’ name tooled into the leather, it’s Grandma’s saddle in my mind.

another side note: please, please, please forgive the quality of the photographs. I took them myself (and a photographer I am not) with my dinky little point & shoot, because I finished the chair the night before the baby shower, so there was no time to beg one of my talented photographer friends to do it for me. Sorry. Did I mention I’m not a photographer?

Of course, once I had come up with this design, it sure seemed like a keeper, which is why you’ll also find a footstool in this same theme.